IMF: US economy improving but spending cuts a drag

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The US economy is on sounder footing than it was a year ago but is still being restrained by government spending cuts and tax increases, the International Monetary Fund said Friday.

The IMF’s annual report on the US economy noted the underlying fundamentals are gradually improving: Home prices and construction are rising, household finances have strengthened, and employers are steadily adding jobs. The outlook was much more optimistic than IMF’s 2012 report.

‘‘There are signs that the US recovery is gaining ground and becoming more durable,’’ Christine Lagarde, the IMF’s managing director, said in a written statement.

Still, the IMF forecasts economic growth of just 1.9 percent this year, down from 2.2 percent in 2012, below many private economists’ expectations.

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